Does BibTeX (ore one of its variants) have a dictionary entry?

I have not been able to find much on this respect after a few searches on google and here.

5 Answers 5


biblatex offers the collection entry type as well as the more specific reference type. Quoting section 2.1.1 of the biblatex manual:


A single-volume collection with multiple, self-contained contributions by distinct authors which have their own title. The work as a whole has no overall author but it will usually have an editor.

Required fields: editor, title, year/date



A single-volume work of reference such as an encyclopedia or a dictionary. This is a more specific variant of the generic @collection entry type. The standard styles will treat this entry type as an alias for @collection.

Both entry types feature multi-volume variants, mvcollection and mvreference.


Probably many people (myself included) have this problem. I did many Google searches too and just arrived at a partial solution I think will suffice in my case (I needed to reference a particular entry). This is what I ended doing:

  1. as I'm using APA style, considered this model:

    Internet. (2009). In Encyclopaedia Britannica (Vol. 20, pp. 81-82). Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica.


  2. with this in mind, used the following (case-specific, of course):

        publisher = {Cambridge University Press},
        author = {Rationality.},
        title = {{The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy}},
        year = {1999},

    And got:

    Rationality. (1999). The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy. Cambridge University Press.

I'll let

  • 1
    Wouldn't it be better to somehow crossref this so that you could have multiple quotations from a dictionary without retyping? Oct 6, 2015 at 21:21

I needed to conform to APA 6th and am using biblatex. My preferred choice was to use @inreference, which I think is pretty much equal to @incollection. For example:

   edition = {5th},
   title = {contact},
   url = {http://www.ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=contact},
   booktitle = {{The American Heritage Dictionary}},
   publisher = {Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company},
   urldate = {2014-01-24},
   date = {2013}

resulting in:

enter image description here

While this is nearly perfect, the comma after the date should be a period. Within the text, instead of using \parencite, I used

(\citefield{_contact_2013}{booktitle}, \citeyear{_contact_2013})

which produced

(The American Heritage Dictionary, 2013).


There is no explicit entry type called @dictionary in BibTeX (or biblatex, AFAICT). However, the entry type @book should provide sufficiently many fields for you to enter the information you need to store. For more on BibTeX's entry types see, e.g., the BibTeX manual.


Best way to do it (it works on iPad very well) is to ignore the author and editor trait. and go for:

  title = {A {D}ictionary of {P}hysics (6th {E}dition)},
  note = {Compton Effect},
  year = {2012},
  publisher = {Oxford University Press},

In that way you will not run into awkward descriptions when it is included in PocketBib for instance (or similar) and the reader can see that he must look up the trait. The example above is for a reference I used for an article abou the Compton Effect.

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